Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Job ID
Regular Full-Time
Post-Doctoral Research Fellows and Associates


Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is an independent, nonprofit, unified adult cancer care and research center that is clinically integrated with UW Medicine, a world leader in clinical care, research and learning. The first National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in the Pacific Northwest, Fred Hutch’s global leadership in bone marrow transplantation, HIV/AIDS prevention, immunotherapy, and COVID-19 vaccines has confirmed our reputation as one of the world’s leading cancer, infectious disease and biomedical research centers. Based in Seattle, Fred Hutch operates eight clinical care sites that provide medical oncology, infusion, radiation, proton therapy, and related services, and network affiliations with hospitals in five states. Together, our fully integrated research and clinical care teams seek to discover new cures to the world’s deadliest diseases and make life beyond cancer a reality.


At Fred Hutch, we believe that the innovation, collaboration, and rigor that result from diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission of eliminating cancer and related diseases. We seek employees who bring different and innovative ways of seeing the world and solving problems. Fred Hutch is in pursuit of becoming an antiracist organization.  We are committed to ensuring that all candidates hired share our commitment to diversity, antiracism, and inclusion.


The Shen Lab, a newly-established behavioral science research group led by Dr. Megan Shen, is seeking to recruit a Post-Doctoral Fellow or trainee who is interested in pursuing research in the space of behavioral medicine and serious and advanced illness. The research group is located at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, WA.


The main goal of the research group is to understand and improve advanced cancer patients’ end-of-life care. Dr. Shen’s NIH-funded program of research integrates theories and methods from social, cognitive, and health psychology to examine how racial, religious, and social constructs influence health communication, health decision-making, and understanding of medical information in the context of advanced or serious illness. Many of the ongoing studies examine how these various social and cognitive constructs influence communication between patients, providers, and loved ones and how this communication ultimately influences patients’ healthcare and quality of life outcomes. We are particularly interested in how to achieve health equity in this space, where BIPOC and other underrepresented groups often suffer worse outcomes. In this vein, many of the interventions being developed are designed to be more culturally relevant to varying groups.


Studies range from large, observational national cohort studies to behavioral intervention development and testing. Methodological and analytical approaches include surveys, semi-structured qualitative interviews, process measures, and medical chart data abstraction.


Some of the scientific questions being addressed include:

  • How can we reduce health disparities in engagement in advance care planning and quality of end-of-life care received among underserved populations (including: Latinx, rural, geriatric, Indigenous, urban African American, East Asian)?
  • How can we improve engagement in advance care planning, including having conversations with loved ones and providers as well as making formal advance care plans?
  • What are the needs and barriers among long-term survivors of transplant in planning for their care needs?
  • What kind of digital tools can we create to help patients and their families better prepare for and plan for end of life?

A successful candidate will have a background in psychology, social work, or another social science or related field. They will ideally have prior experience working in patient populations, which could include cancer or other disease types. They should be passionate about their work and devoted to improving care for those with serious or advanced illness. A background or interest in health equity is desirable but not required.


The candidate will be a member of the Shen Research Group at the Fred Hutch and interact closely with other research groups in the Clinical Research Division, where the position is housed, and the Public Health Sciences Division, where Dr. Shen has an affiliate appointment. The postdoc will both work on projects ongoing in the lab as well as be able to pursue their own research. There will be ample opportunities for data presentation, informal discussions, publications, and grant applications. The candidate will be encouraged to develop research ideas and branch out into more independent projects. Mentorship and support for the post-doctoral fellow will be provided.


Minimum Qualifications

  • PhD degree in psychology, social work, or other closely related social science field
  • A demonstrated track record of first author peer-reviewed journal publications
  • Strong English written and communication skills (for manuscripts and conference presentations)
  • Background and training in qualitative and/or quantitative methodologies and analytical skills
  • Ability to read and critically evaluate scientific literature related to team projects
  • Ability to think independently about new results, connect them to domain knowledge, and formulate novel and testable hypotheses to gain research and clinical insights
  • Ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team
  • Ability to function independently
  • Proficiency in MS Office programs (Word, PowerPoint, Excel)
  • Proficiency in data analytic software (SPSS, SAS, NVivo, and/or R)
  • Ability to multi-task efficiently in a highly interactive team environment
  • Passion for behavioral science and strong work ethic


Preferred Qualifications

  • Previous experience working with patient populations
  • Strong knowledge/understanding of behavioral science
  • Advanced training and experience with qualitative and quantitative methodology and analytical skills 
  • The successful candidate will be a scientifically driven individual who enjoys working in a highly collaborative environment, with a track record of productive research, demonstrated by at least one first author publication, and with excellent communication skills.

In addition to job duties at Fred Hutch, this position also requires access to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, which requires COVID-19 vaccination without exceptions.
Accordingly, as a condition of employment for this Fred Hutch position, newly hired employees must provide proof of vaccination before their first day of employment.


A statement describing your commitment and contributions toward greater diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism in your career or that will be made through your work at Fred Hutch is requested of all finalists.

Our Commitment to Diversity

We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) Employer. We are committed to cultivating a workplace in which diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, age, disability (physical or mental), marital or veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, political ideology, or membership in any other legally protected class. We are an Affirmative Action employer. We encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds to apply and desire priority referrals of protected veterans. If due to a disability you need assistance/and or a reasonable accommodation during the application or recruiting process, please send a request to our Employee Services Center at or by calling 206-667-4700.


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